Why Customer Service Matters and How to Improve
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Running a business requires the ability to keep on top of a lot of things. You need to be able to manage your employees and your finances, all while looking after your marketing strategy, sales technique, product development, and delivery. It’s easy for some things to slip through the cracks.
However, it’s important to not let this happen. One of the things that a company might neglect is customer service and support. You might reason that, as long as the product or service is good enough and you’re able to sell to customers, you should continue to make a profit.
But customer service is far more important than it might seem at first glance.
Why it Matters.
Customer relationships are the bread and butter of any business. You need customers to function, as they are the only way to continue to earn money and turn a profit. With a good marketing strategy, your company should be able to continue to reach customers, and an excellent sales technique can help you to make the sale.
However, the journey doesn’t end with the sale. You also need to deliver the product or service and, most importantly, make sure that the customer is satisfied. Part of this comes down to a great product and an appropriate price. If it’s bad enough, the customer might be entitled to a refund, but even if they don’t get their money back, it’s best to keep them happy.
A happy customer is the perfect goal to reach for. For starters, it’s considerably cheaper to retain customers than to find new ones. A customer who buys one thing is great, but a loyal customer who comes back, again and again, is a company’s best friend.
A good customer service team and strategy can ensure that you have as many happy customers as possible. People care about products and services, but they also care about how they’re treated. If someone feels as though they are treated with disrespect, or as though the company doesn’t care about them, then they will find somewhere else.
Your customer service team is the face of your company and the primary point of contact between you and your customers. You can learn more about your customers through customer service, and you can also make sure that you make them as happy as possible so that they will stick with your company. If you want a loyal customer, then you have to show loyalty first.
Developing a Good Reputation
A good reputation can take your company further than you might think. Many customers are willing to pay more for a product if the brand has a good reputation, as they feel as though they can trust it. If your brand has a reputation for quality, then they know they are getting a good product. Not only this, but if your brand also has a reputation for being socially responsible, then people will feel as though they are doing something good by supporting you.
You can directly develop your reputation, but it takes work. Marketing strategies can help you to build a reputation, as can getting involved in the community and in world issues. For example, if you invest in green practices, then your company will develop a reputation for being environmentally conscious.
Another important aspect of developing a good reputation is to make sure that people know about your brand. This is where marketing comes into play, and responsible and guided marketing will ensure that you control the narrative of your company.
However, while you can control some of your reputation through marketing and good public practices, other people will build your reputation for you. People care about what other people say and think, and if enough customers complain about poor products or poor customer service, then others will pay attention.
On the other hand, if you focus on your customer service, then you might develop a people-first reputation. This doesn’t just help you to retain current customers, but it can help you to build more customers. Good testimonials, reviews, and word of mouth are incredibly powerful marketing tools. After all, a potential customer is aware to take what you say with a grain of salt, but they trust other customers far more.
As well as looking after your customers, you can further facilitate this good reputation by taking care of employees and getting involved in the community. Create high values and a mission statement for your brand, and make sure that you live up to it.
Creating Points of Contact
It seems obvious but, if a customer can’t contact your company with questions or concerns, then your customer service technique has already failed. The customer will likely get frustrated and give up, which means that they are less likely to return to your company and might even put other potential customers off.
Not only that, but customer service is a vital part of market research. If enough customers have the same issue with your product or service, then you know that you need to improve. This will make your product better, and it will in turn bolster your customer relationships, especially if they see that you’re willing to improve.
This means that you need to make it easy for your customers to reach you. One way to do this is by having an active social media presence. Social media is a fantastic marketing tool in general, but it allows companies and customers to communicate far more easily than ever before.
You should also develop some more private and direct ways for customers to get in contact with your social media team. Your website is a great tool for this. For starters, an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page is invaluable, as it can answer your customer’s questions quickly and easily. As well as this webpage, provide direct contact information on your website for other questions.
Another fantastic tool to integrate into your website is live chat software. Live chat software allows customers to ask direct questions quickly and easily. If the question is simple enough, a bot might be able to direct the customer to where they need to go. If not, then they can get in touch with a member of your team who can help them with a specific issue and escalate it where necessary.
But what is the best live chat software for small business website? Always do your research, so that you can ensure that you get the right product for your needs and the needs of your customers.
Finally, while many people prefer the option to chat online, others still like to speak directly to a representative. Make sure that you provide a phone number and an email address so that customers can communicate in the way they’re most comfortable with.
Training Your Team
As well as making sure that customers can reach a human being, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your customer service team is well-trained and equipped to deal with any issues that they have. This is for the benefit of your customers and your employees alike.
You should develop a process for your customer service agents to work through, so they know where to direct customers. Ideally, most issues can be addressed at the lower levels, perhaps before a customer even needs to speak to someone. Unfortunately, the ideal situation doesn’t always happen.
Give your customer service agents a path to escalate issues if necessary, so that someone with more authority can help the customer. Keep up with training and record calls, as this helps you to collect valuable information and data that can always be used to further improve your training.
As well as training your agents in specific processes and procedures, you should also train them in other soft skills. People like to feel as though they are talking to people, so if your customer service agents are able to build a rapport with your customers, then it will go a long way to making those customers feel as though they are being taken seriously.
You also need to protect your customer service agents. Customer service is a hard job. For every pleasant customer who simply wants to ask a question or solve a problem, you might also get someone who takes out their issues on your agents. This can lead to burnout, which means that skilled and experienced agents might leave for greener pastures.
Your employees are valuable, so give them a way to deal with hostile customers. If someone becomes abusive, then train your employees to deal with it and give them your support.
Customer service might seem like a small aspect of your business, but it can make or break your relationship with your customers. People way attention to how they’re treated, and a great customer service team can be the difference between a glowing testimonial and a scathing review. If your business is going to succeed, then invest in your customer service team.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.